Giambotte: Sausage, Chicken, Peppers, and Potatoes

This is a great dish to make on a cold night!

I found this recipe in a cookbook my mom gave me years ago.  The cookbook is Elodia Rigante’s Italian Immigrant Cookbook and it is filled with many wonderful recipes.  She also shares stories and pictures of her family throughout the book.  Many of the dishes are from her mother, whom she calls Mammanon.  She says Giambotte is from Bari, her father’s hometown in southern Italy.

Italian Immigrant CookingThe word Giambotte means mixture and is a peasant dish.  The original recipe calls for boneless chicken breasts, but I like to use bone-in pieces as they tend to stay moist when cooking.  I also add chicken stock to the recipe, which creates a delicious sauce.  If you use sweet sausage, you may want to add hot red pepper flakes to make a spicy Gambotte.  If you use hot sausage, the dish will be spicy enough.  Either way, it is a great dish to make on a cold night!



1 lb sweet sausage

1 lb hot sausage


2 lbs of either hot or sweet sausage

4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in 2 inch pieces


2 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin removed, cut in half, then each half cut again

4 to 6 drumsticks

¼ cup olive oil

1 bag small yellow creamer potatoes, halved

1 red pepper, sliced

2 Italian green peppers, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

chicken stock (optional)

1 teaspoon oregano

½ cup each chopped fresh basil and parsley

2 whole bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Serves 4 to 6

In a large skillet, add some of the olive oil.  Add the sausage and sauté over medium heat until browned.  Remove the sausage and set aside in bowl.

Sauté the chicken pieces in the oils from the sausage in the skillet.  Season with black pepper and cook until brown. Reduce the heat to low; add the sausage back to the skillet and simmer.

In a separate skillet, heat up some olive oil and add the peppers, onions and potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, brown the vegetables and cook until tender.  Transfer the vegetables to the skillet with the sausage and chicken.  If using the chicken stock, add to the mixture.  Add the chopped parsley and basil, the whole bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until all flavors are mixed together.  For additional spiciness, add ¼ tsp of hot red pepper flakes; adjust accordingly.  Remove whole bay leaves before serving.

Serve the Giambotte with warm, crusty Italian bread and your favorite salad!


Cover images courtesy of Burpee



Granny’s Meatballs

Of all of my childhood memories, one of the most vivid was being at my great grandmother’s house on a Sunday and eating her delicious meatballs.

Of all of my childhood memories, one of the most vivid was being at my great grandmother’s house on a Sunday and eating her delicious meatballs.  They would be piled high in a bowl and she would have them in the oven to stay warm.  I think every one of us will tell you Granny’s meatballs were the best!

meatballs 3

Her recipe has been handed down through the generations, and while I know the recipe has changed over time, what is most important is that it represents a tradition that has remained in my family to this day.

As a child, every Wednesday we had macaroni and meatballs, which I continued when I had my own family. To this day, I will keep a dish of meatballs in the oven after I cook them.  It is the first place everyone looks when it is pasta night at our house!

pasta with sauce

I learned how to cook these morsels at a very young age and I have never measured any of the ingredients!  I have done my best to give you estimates in measuring the ingredients.

I have also included my recipe for a marinara sauce that I use for pasta.  I start my sauce with sausage, which gives it a great flavor.  Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients.

Ingredients for Sauce:

1lb of Hot Italian sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces

1lb of Sweet Italian sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 35 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2 6 oz cans of tomato paste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped

½ cup of water

Olive oil

1lb of dried pasta

In a large, heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil.  Place sausage in pan and brown on all sides.  Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes till translucent.  Add water to pan with tomatoes and tomato paste.  Fill one of the small and the large can with water, scraping any tomatoes from the can and add to pot, less water will give you a thicker sauce.  Add the salt, pepper, basil, parsley and oregano. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 ½ lb of ground beef, veal, and pork (ground beef can be used alone if preferred)

2 eggs

½ cup grated Locatelli Romano cheese (adjust if needed)

4 to 5 slices white bread or Italian bread, ground in a food processor  (do not pulse into crumbs I like to keep them a little coarse)

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 clove of garlic, or to taste

1 cup fresh parsley

½ cup fresh basil

¼ cup of water (or less)

Crisco oil

Place the ground meat mixture and eggs in a bowl.  Chop the parsley, basil, and garlic in a food processor and add to mixture.  Grind the bread in food processor and place in bowl.  Add the Romano cheese and season mixture with salt and pepper. Add some of the water and mix together; if needed, you can add more bread.  You do not want the mixture to get too soft or it will be hard to roll into meatballs.

In a large frying pan, add enough Crisco oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  If you like, you can use olive oil, though I feel olive oil makes the meatballs get too soggy.  Make sure the oil is hot as this will make a difference in how they cook.  Roll the meatballs with your hands, and place into hot oil.  Cook the meatballs until they are crusty, then turn.  If you do not want them to be crusty on the outside, you can turn them earlier.  Cook the meatballs until they browned all over and cooked through.

With a slotted spoon remove the meatballs from the frying pan.  If you want to, place a few meatballs in a bowl to keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.  Place the remaining meatballs in the marinara sauce until ready to serve.

Just before serving, cook your favorite pasta as directed and drain.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and meatballs from the sauce and place in a separate bowl to serve.  Ladle some of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a large pasta bowl, add the pasta and additional marinara sauce, and toss the pasta to coat.  Serve with the meatballs, sausage, grated Locatelli Romano cheese, crusty Italian bread, and a salad.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we have throughout the years!




Rack of Lamb with Mint Pesto

This recipe updates the classic combination of mint and lamb by creating an easy pesto to season the meat.

I came across this recipe for Rack of Lamb with Mint Pesto a few years back in Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Grilling, a must-have cookbook with many delicious recipes to choose from.  


This dish was a definite hit with my family.  The recipe updates the classic combination of mint and lamb by creating an easy pesto to season the meat.  Coated with a final layer of breadcrumbs, the lamb develops a toasty, incredibly flavorful crust.  The pesto is made with mint that I grow in my garden, so it is nice and fresh.  For the lamb, I use a New Zealand rack of lamb, which is smaller, and I prefer to use panko breadcrumbs.

rack of lamb 2

Rack of Lamb with Mint Pesto Crust

Rack of Lamb with Mint Pesto


For Mint Pesto:

1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves

2/3  cup lightly packed fresh parsley sprigs

¼ cup pine nuts

3 cloves garlic, freshly chopped (optional)

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice



¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the Lamb:

2 ½ cups panko or coarse dry bead crumbs

2 racks of lamb, 1 ¼ – 1 ½ lb each

Makes 4 to 5 Servings

To make the mint pesto, combine the mint, parsley, pine nuts, garlic (if using), lemon zest and juice, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor.  Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped, then process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl once or twice, until a coarse puree forms.  With the motor running, pour in the olive oil and process until it is well-blended, 5- 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Let the pesto stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before using.

Spread the breadcrumbs on a large plate. Smear the pesto over the lamb rack, covering all sides, then dredge the lamb in the crumbs to cover the pesto coating. Pat extra bread crumbs onto any areas that are not coated.

Place lamb racks on their sides on a grill rack away from the heat elements. Cover the grill and cook, turning the racks over once until nicely browned and crusty, 12 to15 minutes per side for medium rare, or until done to your liking.

To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the rack away from the bone.  It should register 130 degrees.  The temperature will rise another 5-10 degrees while resting.

Transfer the lamb racks to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut the racks into chops.  Serve with your favorite vegetable and salad.  Enjoy!

Lobster and Shrimp Salad

Last week I wanted to make a light and simple meal and, not being able to find just the right recipe, I decided to make a dish using lobster and shrimp

I am always looking for new recipes for easy meals, especially in the summer.  Last week I wanted to make a light and simple meal and, not being able to find just the right recipe, I decided to make a dish using lobster and shrimp.  I put together a Lobster and Shrimp Salad that tasted amazing!  When placed on a bed of lettuce, it is a perfect summer dish for lunch or dinner, ideal on those days when it is just too steamy for a warm meal.

lobster salad

To make this dish, I used lobster meat and shrimp that were already cooked.  You can certainly cook the seafood yourself, either just before making the salad or up to a day in advance.  Keep in mind that if you buy raw seafood, you will need more than the following recipe calls for.  The amount of each seafood can also be adjusted to your taste; for example,  I prefer more lobster than shrimp.

The olives I use are from Whole Food, though you can use any that you prefer.  Using fresh herbs, whether you pick them from your own garden or buy them, will always give your recipes more flavor.  I strongly recommend using fresh herbs whenever possible!

olivesbasil and parsley

Lobster and Shrimp Salad

Serves 2 (or 4 as a side dish)


1lb lobster tails, cooked

½ lb large shrimp, cooked

½ cup pitted Mt Athos green olives with Sicilian herbs, cut into quarters

½ cup pitted black olives with Herbs de Provence, cut in half

½ cup olive oil

¼  tsp coarse ground black pepper

½ cup finely chopped fresh basil and parsley (total, adjust to taste)

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

 romaine lettuce leaves, optional

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, basil and parsley.  Set aside.

Cut lobster tails and shrimp into small chunks and place in a medium bowl.  Add olives to seafood, then pour on the olive oil mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Place salad over a bed of romaine lettuce and serve as a main course, or use as a side dish to compliment your favorite fish.


Mixed Seafood Grill with Anchoiade

Cooking on the grill is a favorite summer activity!

Cooking on the grill is a favorite summer activity!  There are so many different meals you can make on the grill.  Williams-Sonoma has a Guide to Grilling on their website that can help even an amateur grill cook create a delicious meal.  They also offer a wide assortment of grilling essentials that you will need to get started and their rubs, spices, and sauces are a compliment to many dishes.

Williams-Sonoma Grilling Baskets
Grilling baskets make it easier to grill a variety of foods.
Williams-Sonoma Barbeque Sauce
A few sauces available from Williams-Sonoma.

Williams-Sonoma cookbooks are phenomenal; I have an assortment of them, and one in particular that I highly recommend is Essentials of Grilling.  It has a wide range of recipes that can take you through the summer without repeating meals!

Essentials of Grilling
Essentials of Grilling

One recipe we enjoy is from the Williams-Sonoma Seafood Cookbook.  It is so easy to make, and a perfect dish for a hot summer night. 

Williams Sonoma Seafood
Williams-Sonoma Seafood

I have changed the original recipe to include shellfish and seafood varieties that we enjoy.  I also marinate the seafood with an olive oil mixture before grilling.  I love the Anchoaide sauce with this dish!  This Provencal dipping sauce made with anchovies is the perfect complement to the seafood. 

Grilled Seafood
Mixed Seafood Grill with Anchoiade


Mixed Seafood Grill with Anchoiade

1 whole lobster,  1 ½ lb or 2 frozen lobster tails, thawed

1 lb sea scallops

1 lb jumbo shrimp

2 doz little neck clams, cleaned

1 lb mussels, cleaned

1 lb firm fleshed fish fillets such as tuna, salmon, or swordfish (optional)

12 large oysters, cleaned (optional)

 ½ to ¾ cup Olive Oil

Course black pepper, to taste

 ½ cup chopped Basil

 ½ cup chopped Parsley

 ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Italian Seasoning to taste

Thick slices French or Italian bread, grilled and brushed on one side with olive oil.


In a blender, combine ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic (optional), 4 oil-packed anchovies, ¼ cup parsley, and 1 tbsp lemon juice and puree until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and add ground pepper to taste.  You may need to adjust the amounts used according to how much seafood you grill.

Prepare a grill for grilling over medium high heat.  Make the anchoiade and set aside.

Prepare the seafood.  If using lobster tails, cut them in half down the center and remove  the vein.  Place on a platter with cleaned clams, mussels, and oysters, if using.  Wash and pat dry scallops.  Shrimp can be shelled and deveined, or you can grill with shells on.  Cut fish fillets into large pieces and place all on platter.

For the marinade, combine the olive oil, pepper, chopped parsley and basil, red pepper flakes and Italian Seasoning.   Whisk ingredients together and spoon over the seafood, turning to coating all of the fish and shellfish but reserving some marinade for garnish.  You may have to adjust the measurements of the olive oil mixture depending on amount of seafood.  Let sit until ready to grill, up to 30 minutes.

I prefer to grill the shrimp, scallops, and fish on a grill grid, but you can place them on skewers to cook as well.  If you use wood skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour before grilling to prevent them from burning.

Place a grill basket on the grill and line it with tin foil.  Place the marinated clams in the basket and add mussels and oysters after 15 minutes, or when the clams start to open.  Keep the foil in the basket folded closed while grilling. When clams and mussels begin to open, unfold foil.  Discard any clams, mussels, or oysters that do not open.

Meanwhile, grill the lobster tails, turning until shells are bright red and flesh becomes creamy white.  If using a whole lobster, plan on needing about 30 minutes grill time. Grill shrimp until evenly pink and scallops until they are opaque and lightly browned.  Grill fish, turning till flesh is opaque and easy to flake.

I place any seafood that is done in the grill basket with the clams and turn the heat down while I wait for the rest to finish cooking.

Transfer all of the fish and shellfish to a warmed platter and drizzle with the remaining olive oil mixture.  Garnish with lemons and serve immediately with the grilled bread and individual bowls of the anchoiade.

Serve with a salad of your choice and enjoy this delicious meal!


Risotto is an Italian dish that developed in the regions between the Alps and Tuscany, and is now appreciated all over the world.

Years ago I found an article on risotto, which described step by step how to prepare this delicious dish.  Risotto is an Italian dish that developed in the regions between the Alps and Tuscany, and is now appreciated all over the world.

The type of rice best suited for cooking a good risotto is the Carnaroli, but Vialone Nano and Arborio are good choices as well.  Depending on the ingredients used, risotto can be a first course, a complete meal, or a dessert.  It can easily be prepared in about 30 minutes.

Carnaroli Rice
Vialone Nano Rice
Arborio Rice

The base for a risotto is made using one of the three types of rice mentioned above, oil or butter, and a battulo, which is an ingredient used t0 flavor a recipe and can include chopped onion, garlic, celery and/or carrot.  You also need a cooking liquid and one or more types of cheese.

With this base you can make many different risotto dishes depending on your choice of ingredients such as beef, chicken or pork, fish or seafood, vegetables, legumes, or truffles.

Making a risotto is as easy as following six simple steps.  I like to make risotto with seafood.  The following recipe also includes one of my favorite vegetables, asparagus.

Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus

Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus

1 1/2 cups of rice
1 lb of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
4 cups seafood stock
1 bunch of asparagus
1/2  cup finely chopped basil and parsley
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the shrimp by removing the shell and deveining, if necessary.  Rinse under cold water, pat dry, and set aside.

Set a few asparagus stalks aside to use as a garnish.  Cut the rest of the asparagus into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal, discarding the bottoms.  Steam all of the asparagus for 5 minutes, then place under cold water to stop cooking.  Pat dry and set aside.

Place the seafood stock in a saucepan and heat, keeping it warm while you begin the risotto.

In a deep skillet, warm the olive oil.  Add the onion (which is the battulo in this recipe) and sauté till translucent.

Add the rice and toast for 3 minutes .

Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until the liquid evaporates.  Add the warmed stock in 1/2 cup increments, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more.  Continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is tender and creamy, about 20 minutes in total.

Add the shrimp and cook till pink.  Add the cut asparagus.

Add finishing ingredients, including the butter, cheese, basil, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  Place the few whole asparagus on top of the dish with some parsley sprigs for garnish.

Serve this dish with your favorite crusty bread and a salad.  Enjoy!

Heart Healthy Foods

By eating a variety of foods, including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and more, you are getting the different nutrients which are needed to protect your heart and blood vessels.

February is American Heart Month.  Keeping this in mind, I went to the Web MD website with a list of the 25 Top Heart Healthy Foods.  These foods are loaded with heart healthy nutrients that help protect your cardiovascular system.  By eating a variety of foods, including fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and more, you are getting the different nutrients which are needed to protect your heart and
blood vessels.  I am very conscious of the meals I prepare and the ingredients I use in those meals.  I buy fresh herbs, produce, and vegetables and use olive oil when I cook.  We eat fish more than once a week and eat plenty of fresh fruit, so I am definitely into eating healthy.

I decided to highlight a few of the foods they recommended in the Web MD article.  It would be well worth your time to read the entire article.  You might be surprised to see that many of the foods are ones you probably already eat regularly!

Tuna is a good source of Omega-3s.
Asparagus has B-complex vitamins and heart protective antioxidants.
Carrots are a top cholesterol fighting food and may help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Walnuts: a small handful a day may lower your cholesterol and reduce inflammation of the arteries of the heart.
Oatmeal can help your heart by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol.
Blueberries have an extensive list of nutrients that support heart health.

I have a great recipe featuring a popular heart-healthy food.  This tuna dish is a favorite in our house, especially when my husband returns from an offshore fishing trip with fresh tuna.  The original recipe is from a Williams Sonoma cookbook titled “Essentials of Grilling,” a great book to have!  I have changed it some to suit our tastes, of course, and I hope you enjoy it!

Tuna with Wasabi Creme

Tuna with Wasabi Creme

Soy sauce, less sodium preferred
½ cup White Sesame seeds
½ cup Black Sesame seeds
4 Ahi Tuna Steaks, 6oz each, 1 inch thick

Wasabi Creme
1 cup crème fraiche
2 tsp. wasabi powder, or to taste
Chopped chives for garnish

In a shallow dish, add the soy sauce.  On a piece of wax paper, mix the white and black sesame seeds.  Dredge each piece of tuna in the mixture, then place in soy sauce, turning to coat.  Add any left over sesame seeds to tuna, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hrs.

To make wasabi crème, in a small bowl stir together the crème fraiche and wasabi powder.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Add chives just before serving.

Grill your fish, turning once, until it is seared on the outside and rare on the inside,  3-5 minutes per side. If you prefer your tuna cooked through, leave it on the grill for 1 – 2 minutes longer per side. You can also cook the fish in a heavy skillet on high heat.

Transfer the tuna steaks to warm individual plates.  Garnish the wasabi crème with the chives, and pass at the table.

Serve with grilled or lightly steamed asparagus, dressed with an olive oil and herb mixture of chopped basil, parsley, and black pepper.  Enjoy!



Superfoods for 2013

Superfoods are known to prevent disease, help control weight, and maintain overall health.

Here we are at the start of the New Year, when many people are feeling more health conscious!  Between the television shows, tabloids, and fitness club offers, we’re all reminded of our options for eating and staying healthy.  Hopefully, the motivation to create healthier eating habits and consistent exercise routines will turn into long-term commitments that last throughout the year.

I recently came across a recipe for kale and knew I wanted to try it.  Then I thought, “Why not write about healthy eating in general?”  While looking through magazines and websites for ideas and recipes, I came across a Cooking Channel article called Superfoods:  Nutrient-Rich Foods to Eat Every Day.  These superfoods are known to prevent disease, help control weight, and maintain overall health.

Here are a few of the 21 foods recommended by the Cooking Channel.  To see the rest of the list, click here for the full article.

Kale: High in lutein and several vitamins, lowers the risk of cancer, and helps detoxify the body.
Sweet Potato: Great source of Vitamin B-6 and dietary fiber as well as Vitamin A. Good for eye and skin health.
Wild Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids provide a number of important health benefits. Salmon is also a good source of Vitamins D and B-12, selenium, and protein.
Almonds: Protein, healthy fats, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and Vitamin E. Enjoy them whole, raw, and without salt for maximum benefit.
Dark Chocolate: A powerful antioxidant with many benefits for the heart.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for kale from Giada DiLaurentiis.  She is a favorite chef and author of mine!  Her cookbooks are great, and her recipes are delicious and easy to follow.  Her Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale will convince you that eating healthy doesn’t mean eating bland or boring!

A beautiful and healthy side dish!

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (about 14 mushrooms)
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and slice into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan


Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

SERVES: 6 (SIDE); Calories: 138; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 5 grams; Total carbohydrates: 15 grams; Sugar: 5 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 1 milligram; Sodium: 830 milligrams

Cacciucco — Mediterranean Fish Stew

Cacciucco is one of my favorite meals, especially when the weather turns colder.

Guest Post from Debbie Aidinis

Cacciucco is one of my favorite meals, especially when the weather turns colder.  I originally had this for dinner years ago in a restaurant and loved it.  I always try to make meals I enjoy, so I searched through cookbooks and found a few recipes that were close to the restaurant meal I’d liked.  This is a hearty stew that tastes just as good -if not better- the next day.  I serve it with crusty bread seasoned with an olive oil mixture and placed in oven until it is crispy.  This bread is delicious when dipped in the Cacciucco broth.

Crusty Bread

For this recipe, I prefer to use prawns, when available, with the shells still on.  The flavor is superb in the stew.  Another option is using lobster tails with the shells on.  I also like to use Halibut as the fish, which is a very mild white fish.  As always, everyone has preferences when cooking with seafood and this dish lends itself to many variations in the type of fish used.  The amount of seafood used can also be adjusted to your own liking.

Cacciucco — Mediterranean Fish Stew


1 large onion, finely chopped

1 stalk of celery with leaves, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

2 oil packed anchovies

1 can (14 ½ oz) San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved

Pinch of Saffron threads

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup white wine

4 cups fish stock (see Note)

1 cup water

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

1 ½ to 2 lb white fish fillet, such as Halibut, skin removed

12 little neck clams, cleaned

12 black mussels, cleaned

8 jumbo shrimp or prawns shelled and deveined

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Warm Crusty Bread


Sea Scallops

Lobster Tails with shells, cut in half lengthwise

Note: If fish stock is not available, you can substitute 2 cups (16fl oz) bottled clam juice plus 2 cups vegetable stock.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy deep skillet.  Add onion, celery with leaves, and carrot to skillet and sauté.  Add red pepper flakes and thyme. Chop anchovies and add to skillet.  Sauté until anchovies have melted, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands or a wooden spoon. Add the fish stock and 1 cup of water.  Add the saffron, bay leaf, rosemary, basil, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add some of the reserved tomato juice if you want more liquid or tomato flavor.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

Cut the fish into 2 inch pieces, add to broth, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add clams, mussels and shrimp.  If using any additional seafood, add to mixture at this time. Cover and cook until shrimp is pink and clams and mussels have opened.  Discard the bay leaf before serving.

Slice bread in half to open, and spread with a mixture of olive oil, chopped basil, parsley, black pepper. Place in the oven at 400 till crisp and brown. Cut bread into long pieces.

Ladle the stew into bowls, place bread on the side, and serve.



Veal Rollatini

With the cooler weather upon us, we start to look forward to meals that are warm and hearty. Veal Rollatini is a great dish for this season.

Guest Blog by Debbie Aidinis

With the cooler weather upon us, we start to look forward to meals that are warm and hearty. Veal Rollatini is a great dish for this season.  It may take a little time to prepare, but it is well worth the effort.  For those who do not eat veal, this dish can also be done with chicken.  I like to serve this with a marsala sauce and a mushroom risotto on the side.  There are many good packaged risottos available, so you do not have to make your own from scratch unless you have the time to do so.

Mushroom Risotto

With this recipe, I have found that using specific ingredients is a must.  For example, the cheese.  I use an Italian Scamorza, belonging to the same family as Mozzarella, but it is firmer, drier and has more flavor.  It melts evenly, making it perfect for this dish.  You will probably have to go to an Italian deli that carries specialty items to buy this cheese.  Make sure it is hard; if the cheese is soft, it is not ready to use. I also use Prosciutto di Parma, but not a domestic brand, which can be too salty. The  Veal Demi Glace gives the sauce a good flavor, but if you can’t find any you can use 1 cup veal stock in place of the water called for in the recipe.

Scamorza Cheese

I always enjoy going to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to shop for the food I need.  Mike’s Deli in the market is where I find the cheese and prosciutto, plus many other items.  Biancardi’s is my stop for meats, and Madonia Bakery for excellent breads.  On 187th Street, you will find Borgatti’s for fresh pasta and, of course, you cannot miss Egidio’s for some delicious Italian pastries.  With so many stores to choose from, you definitely will not come home empty handed!  It is a true culinary experience and well worth the trip in order to stock up on the best ingredients to make this Veal Rollatini dish a truly authentic and memorable meal.

Veal Rollatini

Veal Rollatini


8        Veal cutlets, sliced and pounded very thin

1        Scamorza, sliced thin and cut in half or thirds, depending on size of the veal cutlets

½ to ¾ lb    Procciutto di Parma, or enough to use 2 slices per cutlet

½ cup        Seasoned breadcrumbs

¼ cup        Grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup        Marsala wine

¼ lb        Shitake Mushrooms, sliced

2        Shallots, chopped

8 oz        Vegetable stock

½ tsp        Veal demi glace

1 cup        Water

3 tbsp        Butter

2 tbsp        Olive oil

¼ cup        Basil, finely chopped

¼ cup        Parsley, finely chopped

1                  Sprig of Rosemary

Salt and Pepper to taste

4”  skewers


In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and a small amount of the basil and parsley.

Place one veal cutlet on a flat surface and spread the breadcrumb mixture on the cutlet.  Place 2 slices of prosciutto di Parma on top of the breadcrumb mixture, then place a slice of scamorza cheese on top, covering cutlet but not hanging over the sides of the cutlet.  If the cheese is cut too thick, it will make the cutlet difficult to roll.  Roll the cutlet and secure with skewers.  Repeat with remaining cutlets.

In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Season veal rolls with black pepper and place in skillet.  Cook, turning rolls to brown on all sides. The total cooking time will depend on the size of the rolls, but typically a few minutes per side or total of not more than 15 minutes is sufficient.  Remove rolls and keep warm.

To the same pan, add 1 tbsp of butter, the shallots, and the mushrooms and sauté until tender.  You may need to add a bit more butter while they cook.  Next, add the marsala wine and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the vegetable stock, 1 cup water, and veal demi glaze.  Let mixture cook, stirring often.  Season with salt and pepper, add rosemary sprig, remaining basil and parsley, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Place veal rolls and juices they’ve exuded into the sauce,  turning to coat, then let simmer for about 30 minutes.  You may need to add more water or stock, especially if your rolls are on the large side.  Before serving, remove the rosemary sprig.

Place Veal Rolls on a platter with mushroom sauce.  Serve with a risotto, salad, and a warm crusty bread.